May all the young people in this Session stand (as you are able) and those who served and who were once a young person.
Bishops, the rest of the members of this 20th Philippines Central Conference, guests, we are the people of the United Methodist Church, our church; CHARGED. ROOTED. UNITED.
Say it with us, CHARGED. ROOTED. UNITED.
Good morning Bishops and delegates of the 20th Philippines Central Conference! We greet you in behalf of the young people of the United Methodist Church of the Philippines. Before we go on, let us recognize the young people in our midst. Please raise your hand if you are seating beside a young person. (Wait for response). Stand, if you were an active UMYF or UMYAF during your time. (Wait for response). Thank you!
This is our time. We are the church. We are CHARGED. ROOTED. UNITED. Say it with us, CHARGED. ROOTED. UNITED.
Four years have passed since the First Young People’s Address was heard in the Philippines Central Conference session. Since then, how have we viewed, supported, and discipled our young people?
We go a long way because of our ideals, dynamism and our strengths. We found courage in our weaknesses and we are challenged to pursue new and innovative ministries. We continue to dream because it is where we look for opportunities and fulfill them. We embrace our diversity because we find ways for acceptance and unity. We strengthen our commitment and faith because they keep us as one family. We are the young people of the United Methodist Church… CHARGED. ROOTED. UNITED.
The United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines is charged with a supreme task, “To know Christ and make Him known.”
We believe that Christ has been made known in the lives of the young people through our various innovative programs: our campus ministry (PPT: Student Methodist Active in Campus Kirk), music and songwriting competition (PPT: Awit Kay Yahweh), literature (PPT: Pananaw Newsletter, and Pananaw Literary Award, CI Bible Study materials), workshops in social media (PPT: The World [Wide Web] is my Parish), and outreach (PPT: Out-of-School Youth community outreach).
The United Methodist Young Adult Fellowship in the Philippines is charged to live the life exemplified by Jesus Christ. We walk, “In Jesus’ steps.”
We shared in the vision of the four areas of focus of the United Methodist Church. We trained new breed of leaders through our Breakthrough Leadership Trainings and Leadership Summit. (PPT: Developing Principled Christian Leaders) We have helped in the transition of many youth in becoming young adults by giving orientation and serving as mentors. (PPT: Creating new places for new people) We reached out to our indigenous brothers and sisters through the Caravan Missions, providing their communities with livelihood, values education, and diversity trainings. (PPT: Caravan 1 & 2, Eliminating poverty) We partner with advocacy groups in promoting awareness on HIV and AIDS as we share in the 2020 vision of an AIDS-free world. (PPT: Bagong Pag-asa, NCCP Youth Desk, Improving Global Health) We also launched the “nothing but nets” campaign encouraging each local church to donate at least one mosquito net to support UMCOR’s global program on mitigating malaria.
As people of the United Methodist Church, we are equally charged to “Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” What you have seen and heard are our humble share in fulfilling our charge from Jesus Christ.
We recognize that we are all pilgrims in this journey of making disciples. Some could offer energy and idealism; some could offer wisdom and experience. We ask you, those who have walked ahead of us, to pave the way for the young people of our church to be in the leadership, and to work hand-in-hand with us in engaging the world.
Teach us. Guide us. Hold us. Remain faithful with us to our charge!
We are CHARGED. ROOTED. UNITED.
Some of the literatures and programs available for the use of young people’s ministries are either borrowed or adopted from different ministries and denominations. It saddens us that some of our youth primarily looks for resources outside of our church because they think that those are more effective and “cool.” This is one reason why some young people drift from our Wesleyan identity.
A lot of our youth get involved with the discipleship programs of other churches and para-church organizations. They are hungry for discipleship and meaningful, Christian relationships. In the end, when they graduate from College or they start working, they decide to leave the UMC and join these groups.
“Wesley believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in the Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience and confirmed by reason. Scripture, however, is primary, revealing the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation.” (as stated in the Book of Discipline)
We uphold our doctrines as members of the United Methodist Church, as Wesleyans, and as Christians. Lead us back to our traditions, to our heritage. Patronize what is truly ours—emphasis on mission, prayer, fasting, holiness, small accountability groups, and works of the Holy Spirit to name a few. Our church, we believe, is overflowing with resource materials, resource persons, and programs that could empower our disciple-making task. But we need a united effort to do it!
Some think that “young adults” is the missing generation of the church. True enough, we seem to be more focused in establishing our careers and building our families, yet we don’t lose our hope in our church.
We long for a church that caters to the holistic needs of the family. If the family is the basic unit of the society, then the family should be the basic unit of our ministries. Let us walk back through our memories—Susana Wesley devoted her life for intentional discipleship of her children and Samuel Wesley took pride and supported in the accomplishments and endeavors of their children. Their family wasn’t perfect. Yet they modeled for us a family worth emulating. We long for a church that parent us to become truly Christians. As we build our own families, we want to raise our children in a community of faith that is inclusive in its ministries, work and leisure.
We believe that we need a spark to light us and turn us into a fire, and then we would see a vital church because the young people have risen; and we are back with passion and enthusiasm. We want to be rooted in faith so that nothing can uproot us from our heritage.
Lead us. Re-learn with us. Together, let us reclaim our Wesleyan heritage and traditions. We want a church that is:
CHARGED. ROOTED. UNITED.
‘United’ is a word we really cannot detach ourselves from. Being the people of the United Methodist Church, we should live up to the name our church has adopted. More so, being Christians, we are united by the love that the God freely gave—that is Christ Jesus.
We recognize unity in diversity. Though the youth and the young adults may be different, their avenues where we come together to move forward programs and ministries. We have been partnering together in advocacies like promoting awareness on HIV and AIDS, election of young people to the Central Conference session, and nurturing young people through mentorship programs. We have joined hands in reaching out to our Out-of-School youth and indigenous people through the Caravan Mission program.
We are aware of what our church has gone through in the past few years—we have been divided in our opinions, principles, and ideals. Some left. Some stayed. Some were accommodated. We were confused. We were hurt.
We asked ourselves, “Is this the kind of church that we will inherit? Is this the kind of church that we want to disciple us?”
Many questions remain in our minds, in our hearts. We may not have the answers. But this we know and believe—our church has to move forward. And we, the young people of the church, have a big role to play!
We pulled the young people’s composure together, held prayer rallies, organized unifying camps/institutes, and several forums. We were, as Romans 12:12 put it best, “…joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
We are united in knowing Christ. We are united with the same passion to make disciples.
We believe in the process of connecting with people, planting seeds of Biblical foundations, equipping for the ministry, and empowering to make Christ known. Hundreds of thousands of people have not yet experienced life with Christ. As a church, let us extend our arms wider to embrace people from all walks of life; let us be agents of transformation in the world one act of kindness at a time.
These are the things that are worth more of our time, resources and effort. These are the issues we need to talk about in our church meetings, in social media threads, and in our daily conversations with each other. Let us be accountable to each other. Let us work joyfully together. Let us stop building walls within us. Instead, let us break them down.
These are the things that really matter. We know, and so we believe. We believe, and so we must act. We must act, so that our united efforts may positively transform our world.
Today, we desire humble hearts. Today, we celebrate all the triumphs, our renewed strength and our readiness to soar higher. Today we conclude all the challenges we painstakingly overcame for the past four years. Today, we will create new beginnings and new efforts for reconciliation and unity. Today, we celebrate our revival.
All of us should untiringly take part in the continued transformation of our church as we face the challenges of our time. As one body with many parts, may we all find our significant places in the church, running the race marked out before us.
We call for genuine unity. We uphold the faith that stands through all circumstances. We affirm our faith through the United Methodist Church.
WE ARE CHARGED, ROOTED, and UNITED!
Say it with us, we are charged, rooted, and united!